Saturday, December 18, 2010


David Horovitz describes a possible cable about the failed set of talks entitled WikaLikes: US ME policy recalibration, Dec. 2010


1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: This cable sets out amended assessments, priorities for relevant interactions on Israeli-Palestinian Issues (paragraph 2-end) by Department personnel and other Country Team members.

Settlement freeze

A. (S/NF) USG focus on obtaining freeze in Israeli settlements in the West Bank for additional 90 days has been discontinued. Recognized that previous 10-month freeze was wasted by Palestinian Authority, which failed to enter direct talks in good faith. PM Netanyahu considered USG request for additional 90-day freeze, though concerned about domestic political fallout. Contacts with PA and Department assessment indicated that new freeze would achieve little: Israel reluctant to discuss border issues in isolation from other Final Status Issues including security, refugees, Jerusalem; Palestinians seeking Israeli border concessions, unwilling to engage on other issues.


PM Netanyahu has encouraged “economic peace” in West Bank, fueling economic growth there by easing freedom of movement, access, etc, bolstered by Quartet envoy Blair. Reluctant to give ground in substantive negotiations on Final Status Issues, because of domestic political constraints and own traditional ideology, but acutely conscious of importance of ties to USG, therefore susceptible to cautious risk-taking in context of improved faith in USG.

Palestinian government - stability and orientation

PA President Abbas heading unreformed Fatah movement, nearing end of political career, reluctant to take personal risk. Unwilling or unable to concertedly encourage policy of reconciliation with Israel, evidenced by ongoing incitement and delegitimation (see November PAendorsed study discounting Jewish connection to Western Wall); occasional comments, when abroad, in recognition of Jewish rights in region met with heavy criticism within Fatah and beyond.


President Abbas formally committed to demand for right of return, although hints at opportunities for compromise. Inconsistent on possibility of West Bank land swaps to resolve settlement bloc issue. Unhelpfully encouraged by numerous international players to believe he can establish Palestinian state without confronting Final Status Issues. PM Fayyad, presiding over admirable progress toward institution-building in Palestinian West Bank territories with summer 2011 statehood timetable, lacks public backing to promote compromise, debilitated by difficult relationship with Abbas.


USG ultimately asking Israelis to relinquish territory to which they claim peerless attachment, from which they were attacked for first two decades of statehood; to enemy/partner that fostered recent terrorist onslaught that killed hundreds of their people, and some of whose institutions vow unceasing enmity against them; against track record of international failure to prevent violent, Iranian-backed Islamists (Hezbollah, HAMAS) filling vacuum left by previous US-backed Israeli withdrawals (Lebanon, Gaza); (b), USG can serve all interests by stringent oversight of process of Palestinian state-building, to promote reconciliation, minimize military, demographic threats to Israel.


Time is not on the side of the Israelis, moderate Palestinians, relatively moderate regimes in region, or the American interest. State-championed (Iran) Islamic extremism feels itself ascendant, sees America hesitant, in retreat. Previous lukewarm allies such as Saudi Arabia concluding that Iran will prevail in nuclear face-off with USG, looking to safeguard own interests via altered alliances, domestic nuclear initiatives, etc. Warmer allies such as Jordan, concerned for fundamental interests, recalibrating relations with Iran.

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